Berne Omolafe – TradeSquares

My name is Berne Omolafe and I am a tech entrepreneur specialising in supporting small enterprises through the process of scaling their businesses, through the use of innovative technology, both on a local and global level. Upon working as a small business advisor in collaboration with the UK Business, Innovation and Skills department, for their growth voucher scheme, it became clear to me that a lot of businesses struggled to keep up with the ever-changing nature of technology as it stands today.

During my time incentivising small businesses to incorporate latest technologies into their business growth strategy with the intention of helping them achieve their long-term goals, it became clear to me that my expertise was needed in a more hands-on manner. This led to the launch of AtHashtags, a mixed (augmented, virtual and 3d visualisation) reality app that allows small retail businesses to sell alongside larger retail businesses, both online and on the high street, building a means through which small retail businesses can effectively and conveniently reach consumers regularly.

We discovered that small businesses find it increasingly hard to form a stand-out online presence, often leading them to gravitate towards established online marketplaces such as Amazon and Ebay. Our platform rectifies this problem by providing small platforms with the opportunity to establish an engaging online presence with ease.

Through its success we discovered that in order to continuously exceed customer expectations, we need to see to it that our clients get the traction they need in places that are convenient to consumers and are satisfied.

This central ethos led us to launch our most current social enterprise, TradeSquares, dedicated to solving this problem and ensuring client success in their individual ventures. We do this by creating a space through which our clients share floor space in multiple visible locations.

DSC_1726I applied to London Business Partnerships exchange to Ourense due to my interest in developing my knowledge in the area of social enterprise.Despite running a social enterprise myself, I am a firm believer in the idea that you can never have enough knowledge and that there are different ways in which one can develop a business. With my experience giving advice to small businesses, I felt that I was equipped with the skills needed to aid the community of Ourense in their wish to catalyse positive change. Furthermore, I felt it was a great opportunity to challenge myself to do things that I otherwise would not have done.

Despite running a social enterprise myself, I am a firm believer in the idea that you can never have enough knowledge and that there are different ways in which one can develop a business. With my experience giving advice to small businesses, I felt that I was equipped with the skills needed to aid the community of Ourense in their wish to catalyse positive change. Furthermore, I felt it was a great opportunity to challenge myself to do things that I otherwise would not have done.

Our journey to Ourense as part of The Spanish Entrepreneurs Exchange program has been nothing short of wonderful. Not only have I been blessed with an opportunity to meet and network with great people, but it has also opened my eyes to the opportunities at my disposal. As a result, I do hope to establish a long-term relationship with the London Business Partnership team.

Similarly, having witnessed the reality of youth unemployment in Spain, and the fact that hard-working youth have no real positive expectations of the existing job market, I do wish to establish some form of support network in collaboration with the youth of Ourense to catalyse progress and begin the process of taking the required steps in the right direction. Alongside this, I believe my business Trade Squares could turn out to be very beneficial to the people of Ourense and Spain as a whole and look forward to the possibility of implementing such an initiative in the places that need it the most.

With regards to Spanish culture, where do I start? Despite not being well-versed in the Spanish language and culture, one thing is for sure, the people of Ourense embraced me like I was one of their own. I loved how relaxed and nice the Spanish people were. This realisation was refreshing given the fast-paced nature of the UK.

I loved loved loved the fresh food and left feeling healthier than ever. I also loved the way in which the people of Ourense embraced Jazz and Soul music. I hope by the next time I visit, I have mastered the art of speaking Galician, after which I hope to officially become a Spanish citizen, with the approval of the Mayor and the people of Ourense of course.

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